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Machado homers twice in O's loss to Indians

April 22, 2018

BALTIMORE -- Manny Machado is on a tear. The rest of the Orioles' lineup? Not so much.Machado homered twice, solving the Rubik's Cube that is Indians ace Corey Kluber, but the red-hot shortstop wasn't enough to lift a sagging Baltimore club. Instead, the last-place Orioles (6-16) took their 10th loss

BALTIMORE -- Manny Machado is on a tear. The rest of the Orioles' lineup? Not so much.
Machado homered twice, solving the Rubik's Cube that is Indians ace Corey Kluber, but the red-hot shortstop wasn't enough to lift a sagging Baltimore club. Instead, the last-place Orioles (6-16) took their 10th loss in 12 games with Sunday's 7-3 defeat against the Indians.
"It's a hole that can be dug out of. We can. But you can't just wish it and hope it and think it's something that comes with the mathematics of a season," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the concern of being buried in the standings this early.
"You always have a sense of urgency. … These guys are [participants], not watchers. They understand what's going on. We talk about it in some form or fashion every day. Some things out of sight, but we've got to do better. We've got to do better. We know that."
The loss means the Orioles' first series win at home will have to wait. It also marks the 15th time in the club's first 22 games that it has been held to three or fewer runs.

"You know what, there's no excuse for what's happening," said Machado, who went 3-for-4 with two solo homers. "No one knows what's going on, we are just losing games. We need to play better overall. Nobody is in here pointing fingers. We are in here together and we are going to ride or die together."
With leadoff man Trey Mancini banged up -- he exited Friday's game with a right knee injury -- the O's are playing with a short bench. To that end, Showalter's lineup against Kluber had five starters who were batting under .200 at the start of the day. And the Indians' ace took full advantage of it, throwing seven-plus solid innings -- including striking out the side in his final full frame -- and holding the rest of the O's besides Machado to a collective three hits.

"It's been tough," said starter Andrew Cashner, who went six innings and took the loss. "We've got a lot of guys with great track records. We've also played a lot of cold games. I think for me, there's no panic in here, there's no pressing, but I think we've just got to do a better job to get it done. With the warm weather today, I think you saw some guys swinging the bat better. I've definitely seen our at-bats be better. I think we just need to clean up a few things and keep moving forward."
It is all the Orioles can do at this point, continue to stay positive and hope for things to start to go their way.
One of the most encouraging signs these first three weeks has been Machado, who has a 10-game hitting streak and leads Baltimore in homers (eight) and RBIs (17). He gave the Orioles an early lead with a two-out knock in the first, sending Kluber's 92-mph sinker soaring over the left-field fence. Machado went deep again in the fourth on Kluber's 1-0 curveball, putting him in a three-way tie with Michael Trout and Bryce Harper for the Major League lead before Trout added HR No. 9 later in the day against the Giants.

"He's on top of his game on both sides of the ball for the most part. It's been fun to watch," Showalter said. "He was locked in … you guys saw him in the spring. He was locked in the first day of spring. He's carried that over to the season."
The O's only other run off of Kluber came in the fourth, when Chris Davis singled home Adam Jones, who doubled.

"When you come in here and you have a good game like I did today and you come out with a loss, it's not fun," said Machado, who was marred in a slump during the first half last year and has come out swinging this season. "Other than that, I just want to keep playing and keep swinging there. I'm finding a lot more holes this year, and I'm just lucky enough that hopefully we can keep grinding and we can start a nice little hot streak and turn things around."
Cashner, who had three consecutive quality starts coming in, continued to pitch well. The righty allowed four runs on eight hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.
Cashner (1-3) surrendered a fourth-inning solo homer to Jose Ramirez and -- after a pair RBIs by Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley in the fifth -- Ramirez put the game out of reach in the ninth. The Indians third baseman went deep for a two-run blast off of Orioles closer Brad Brach to raise his homer total to seven. Brach was charged with three runs after Yan Gomes doubled home Yonder Alonso.

It's Miller Time: Down one entering the eighth, Caleb Joseph gave the O's a leadoff baserunner with a single and chased Kluber from the game in favor of reliever Andrew Miller. Miller struck out Luis Sardinas and Craig Gentry and got pinch-hitter Danny Valencia to ground out.
"It's been impressive. I think him moving back to shortstop, it's almost like being a little kid again. You get that feeling where you want to play, and he's not missing his pitch right now." -- Cashner, on watching Machado
"He's obviously one of the best hitters in the game. He's really locked in right now, seeing the ball well. I made three bad pitches to him, and he did what he was supposed to do." -- Kluber, on Machado
Kevin Gausman will take the mound in Monday's 7:05 p.m. ET series finale opposite Tribe righty Carlos Carrasco. Showcasing a new delivery, Gausman had a solid outing in Detroit his last time out, surrendering just two runs. He didn't factor into the decision despite the quality start, but he will look to build on those six innings vs. the Tigers in Monday's finale vs. Cleveland.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.